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Last Men Out: The True Story of America's Heroic Final Hours in Vietnam Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 3, 2011

63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Last Men Out tells the real story behind one of the most-referenced but least-understood episodes in recent American history. It’s a gripping tale of heroism and heartbreak – and a reminder of the price paid by those who do our nation’s bidding.”—Nathaniel Fick, author of the NYT bestseller One Bullet Away

“This totally riveting and moving story tells how a small band of Marines risked everything to accomplish the harrowing evacuation of American personnel in the last days of the Vietnam War. You feel the fear of facing overwhelming odds, the frustration of a self-serving bureaucracy turning an orderly evacuation plan into a shambles, and the terror and despair of our shamefully abandoned allies. This book tells with authority and power how the light at the end of the dark tunnel of the Vietnam War proved to be the courage, nobility, and discipline of the United States Marine Corps.” —Karl Marlantes, author of Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

“An exciting, focused account… A thrilling narrative ofbravery, bravado and loss.”—Kirkus

About the Author

Bob Drury is the author/coauthor/editor of nine books. He has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Men’s Journal, and GQ. He is currently a contributing editor and foreign correspondent for Men’s Health. He lives in Manasquan, New Jersey.

Tom Clavin is the author or coauthor of eleven books and associate editor of The Medical Herald and The Spiritual Herald. He has contributed to The New York Times, NewsdayCosmopolitan, Parade, Reader’s Digest, and Men’s Journal, among others. He lives in East Hampton, New York.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439161011
  • ASIN: B005GNJ8OU
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,374,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Wilkins on March 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
I was a GS-11 CIA officer at the Emb on 29 Apr 75, and just recently acquired this book. Admittedly, I have been trying for c. 40 yrs to forget the gut wrenching emotions and shame of what most of us shared with the young MSGs. Amb Martin, COS Polgar and Sec State Kissenger appeared to buy into Russian Communist line that Big Minh would lead the way to a negotiated tri-partite govt. Hell, even my maids laughed at that. But if you are going to say derogatory statements about the CIA leadership,you at least have to give Polgar and Delaney an opportunity to respond--if they choose not to reply, then the authors can so state. I think both CIA personalities are still alive. Otherwise, its just interagency bickering.

I retired overtly in 1991. I can say I was there. I was not at a level that I was involved in making policy--I was doing my job. As others have stated, the book has errors, ie., references to Royal VN Air Force and Marines. This is relatively minor in the scope of things. Also, the CIA via Air America was evacuating via Hueys from the Emb roof during the afternoon of 29 Apr--I left at c. 1615-1630 that day and landed on the USS Hancock. The book would imply that Air America had been banned from the Emb.

Where the book is 100% correct is describing what young servicemen--Marine MSGs felt in carrying out their mission of having to play God in saving some and abandoning others. A personal note, I was out on the street in the last week and was approached by a young Vietnamese man. In perfect English he showed me a US Army citation for bravery in saving the lives of US GIs. He asked me what he should do. It just happened that this was the same award my father received when he retired from his 20 yr army career.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Marie on May 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I grew up during the Vietnam War, and I never heard anything good about our (America's) involvement. I heard "baby killer" and "cut and run" and "never should have been there", etc. etc. This book is about a handful of guys who tried as hard as humanly possible to do the right thing amidst wrong, wrong circumstances, and their story is just so compelling. The men interviewed didn't gloss over the negative stuff, or try to aggrandize their own actions. They just told the truth and you get how exhausting and frustrating and scary it was for them, and how hard they tried. It puts to an end any mistaken assumption that the Americans just bailed and didn't care. Reading it, my hat was off to these guys. I'm sure that if I had been in such an unenviable position, I would not have performed as these Marines did. It's a humbling story, and extremely well told.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Robert C. Olson VINE VOICE on June 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Vietnam War ended not with a bang but a subdued whimper.
From the chaotic evacuation of Saigon in April 1975, to the debacle on Koh Tang Island (May 1975--more infamously known as the Mayaguez incident), the final hangdog ending to the war in Southeast Asia (SEA) was like the war itself: Confused, overly managed by politicians, and in the end a question mark. Like the Korean police action, Vietnam further signaled the slow decline of political and military leadership into a confused state of fighting without the drive to win, which has continued to today. The ONLY heroes in all this were and are the frontline battlefield grunts who give their blood and last full measure of devotion to pursue policies that include everything but winning. Bob Drury and Tom Clavin's Last Men Out hammers this home in spades. The soldiers knew the end was more than near, yet the political and military leadership couldn't grasp the reality of it all until the last 24 hours when the Saigon evacuation became too little too late. Once again the battlefield warriors pulled the leadership chestnuts out of the growing fire. The Last Men Out chronicles the final 24 hours of heroism by a few who saved many but sadly NOT ALL. From the Embassy and Consulate Marines, to the Fleet Marines, to the heroic helicopter pilots THEY pulled off a miracle. Drury and Clavin tells their remarkable story.
Like other Drury and Clavin books, the writers set the table by outlining the biographical history of the primary players. From that information the reader is able to better understand just who these heroic Marines are and how they upheld the best ideals of the Corps. The writers then wove this biographical information into the definitive account of the final hours of America's involvement in Vietnam.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By DH on May 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first got a hold of this book in galley format and was told not to read it as there would be some minor revisions when published. It sat on my desk for a couple of days, and then I picked it up to read a few paragraphs just to get a sense of the book--well damn--I blew out the afternoon as I could not stop reading it. I'm not sure what the revisions could be (I'll re-read my Kindle version) because this was just a wonderful book. I thought I knew the story, but the authors took me down deep with great reporting of the men who were there. An amazing story very well told.
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23 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Merle L. Pribbenow on June 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As one of those who was evacuated from the Embassy in Saigon on 29 April 1975, and as someone whose uncle was a career Marine NCO who fought in the South Pacific during WWII and as a platoon sergeant in Korea from Inchon to the Chosin Reservoir, I have the utmost respect for all Marines, and especially for those who protected us so heroically during the evacuation of Saigon. The Marines deserve better than this book, which is filled with so many outright errors of fact that one wonders whether the authors even bothered to do any research. The most grating mistake has to be the authors' repeated references to the "Royal South Vietnamese Air Force" and the "Royal South Vietnamese Marines," which will surely provoke gales of laughter from any Vietnam veteran, but that is only the tip of the iceberg with this book. There are many very good books about the evacuation of Saigon - I recommend Frank Snepp's "Decent Interval," David Butler's "The Fall of Saigon," and Stuart Herrington's "Peace With Honor?" among others. I can only hope than some future author will write another book about the Embassy Marines that will truly do justice to their courage and devotion to duty. In the meantime, my advice is to skip this book.
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